BYU Football: Jacobson earning his way onto field for Cougars

August 12, 2017

Every college football program in the country is affected by transfers, either incoming or outgoing. Some players move on with the coach’s blessing, and with others there are hard feelings on both sides.

Some breakups are just ugly.

Upon completing his LDS mission to Bolivia, Tanner Jacobson contacted Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury to tell him he wanted to go to BYU instead of returning to Lubbock. According to his father, Evan, Tanner Jacobson wanted to experience the atmosphere and social interaction that is unique to Provo.

During his freshman season at Texas Tech, Jacobson started four games at safety and played in 13, logging 47 tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one pass breakup and one tackle for loss.

In other words, the potential of an impact player.

Kingsbury’s reply gives insight into what kind of a relationship he’d developed with Jacobson: Kingsbury said he understood and that Jacobson was always welcome in his program. Kingsbury added that if he had a daughter he’d want her to marry a guy like Jacobson.

Jacobson redshirted at BYU in 2015 and played mainly special teams for the Cougars last season. This fall, he’s right behind incumbent strong safety starter Micah Hannemann and will see more time in the rotation. Jacobson also won the punt returning job in spring practice, displaying good speed and elusiveness but more importantly, terrific hands.

“He was one of our top tacklers on special teams last year,” BYU safeties coach Ed Lamb said. “He’s probably done the best job throughout camp applying his assignments and his eyes. He had an interception return for a touchdown in one of our scrimmages. He’s a punt returner with nice athleticism and won that job. He’s just one of our best athletes on the whole team.”

There is a seven-year difference between Jacobson and his older brother, McKay, who played wide receiver for BYU in 2006 and from 2009-2011. McKay now lives in Dallas and works in the finance world. The relationship between brothers has been beneficial to Tanner Jacobson’s growth on the football field.

“There’s always been a maturity difference and an age difference,” Tanner Jacobson said. “I have to kind of figure out how to use that little brother mentality. It’s great McKay played receiver because he teaches me what receivers are trying to do. He knows what was hard for him as a receiver. He teaches me some things I can try to implement, like what he used to get open, little tendencies, things I try to key on when the receiver is coming toward me. I played both ways in high school and that has helped me as well.

“McKay was always a great older brother, always encouraging me. I try to use that perspective of him playing in the same type of level but on the opposite side of the ball.”

Tanner Jacobson said he’s faster than McKay now. But could he cover him?

“Absolutely, without a doubt,” Tanner said.

The secondary lost playmaker Kai Nacua to graduation, so the group is eager to show they can step up and cause turnovers. That includes the two players battling to replace Nacua at free safety, senior Matt Hadley and junior Zayne Anderson.

“I think we’re doing great,” Tanner Jacobson said. “This safety group is really a deep group talent wise and skill wise. We’re working on the little things, fine tuning our fundamentals, because all of us can run, all of us can tackle, all of us can make plays.”

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